CINCINNATI – Jay Bruce homered for the third consecutive game and drove in four runs to back Johnny Cueto's solid effort as the Cincinnati Reds beat the Houston Astros, 6-0 on Saturday.
Bruce had a two-run double and Brandon Phillips added two hits for the Reds, who had lost two straight after winning the first two games of a 10-day, nine-game homestand.
Cueto (3-0) wasn't dominant, allowing five hits and a walk while hitting a batter and striking out just three over seven innings, but he was able to make enough quality pitches to keep in check an Astros team that hit .301 over the first four games of their six-game road trip.
Logan Ondrusek pitched a perfect eighth inning and Aroldis Chapman allowed two walks and a hit to load the bases in the ninth before striking out Chris Snyder to complete Cincinnati's second shutout of the season and Houston's second shutout loss.
Houston center fielder Jordan Shafer singled in the fifth to extend to 21 his streak of consecutive games reaching base to start the season, the longest by an Astro since Ricky Gutierrez had a 23-game streak in 1998. The club record is 25 by Denis Menke in 1969.
The Reds roughed up Houston starter Lucas Harrell (1-2), who allowed nine hits and six runs — five earned — with one walk and one strikeout in six innings.
The Reds wasted no time gaining an edge on Harrell. Joey Votto doubled into the left field corner with two outs in the first inning, and Brandon Phillips followed with a line drive triple to center field that fooled Schafer and glanced off his glove, rolling to the wall. After Bruce walked, Scott Rolen grounded an RBI single through the hole into right field.
They doubled the lead in the third, which Zack Cozart started with a single to center. Second baseman Jose Altuve couldn't handle Votto's line drive and was charged with an error, and both runners scored on Bruce's opposite-field double into the left field corner, where it squarely hit the yellow foul line painted on the green wall.
Bruce pushed the lead to 6-0 in the fifth, following Phillips' one-out single with his third home run in three games and sixth of the season, a 417-foot shot into the right-field seats on Harrell's first pitch. He fell one RBI short of matching his career single-game high.
NOTES: Houston expects to recall RHP Jordan Lyles from Triple-A Oklahoma City in time to start Sunday's series finale. Lyles is 4-0 for the RedHawks. ... Astros manager Brad Mills doesn't expect 1B Carlos Lee to be available until at least Monday. Lee sprained his left ankle Friday. ... Reds C Ryan Hanigan singled to lead off the fourth, extending his hitting streak to seven games (9 for 26, .346), the longest of the season among the Reds and one short of matching the longest of his career. He hit in eight consecutive games in 2009.